Love! Valor! Compassion!
By Terrence McNally
Zeitgeist Stage Company - Boston Center for the Arts. May 7th-19th
"Brooks Reeves, whose stellar work at Zeitgeist has included “Bent’’ and “The Boys in the Band,’’ delivers another standout performance . . . make that two standout performances. Reeves shoulders the dual roles of twin brothers with markedly divergent personalities: peevish sourpuss John and sweet-natured James, who is deep into a losing battle with AIDS."
"In the meantime, Brooks Reeves gives a noteworthy performance in a dual role as twin brothers, a couple of Brits who are referred to by the group as James the Good and John the Bad, or, alternately, as Princes of Charm and Ugly. The siblings are like night and day, and Reeves makes it look easy to distinguish between them, altering his posture, his accent, and his facial expressions, with a slight assist from costume designer Elizabeth Cole Sheehan. The majority of his stage time is spent in the character of John, a failed musical theater composer who works as piano accompanist for their host Gregory's dance company. John's talent on the 88s is not enough to alleviate his bitterness and jealousy of others' professional accomplishments, nor his resentment of his brother's likability. Reeves portrays their differences by morphing from a stony scowl to an eager and open visage, appearing remarkably natural and comfortable in both personas, culminating in a powerful monologue when John and James "appear" simultaneously."
"Artistic Director David Miller has elicited fully inhabited performances from every actor, and a palpable connection among this ensemble. He has also delicately kept the tone of this play on track, as it rides a roller coaster of emotional, psychological, professional, and spiritual interactions around friendship and fidelity, life and death. We are laughing one minute, tearing up the next. We are utterly engaged in every individual, personal story, and then as the play drifts toward conclusion, we are lifted up and outward with a heightened sense our own mortality and soul-stirring perspective on the effect of compassion and love in the universe. LOVE! VALOUR! COMPASSION! requires as much from its cast and crew who rise wholehearted– and then some, to the occasion. Worth every second of its two hours and 50 minutes running time. Prepare to be moved. "
" It's both funny and bittersweet, thanks to this terrific ensemble. The play, and this production of it, are profoundly loving, valiant and compassionate.... a shatteringly moving monologue by Reeves as John...This is one of this company's finest and most memorable productions in a wonderful season."